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Before The Storm Hits: Being Prepared For Disaster

Even before a disaster hits, MAP becomes a disaster response center. And much of the preparation necessary for a humanitarian response requires significant advance planning.

When we know a hurricane is forming, or receive news of an earthquake, or see refugees fleeing conflict, MAP springs into action.

This past week, MAP International hosted members from Rotary International District 6920 to pack MAP's signature Disaster Health Kits (DHK). These kits are readied for a disaster that has yet to happen. Why?

Because the first question we ask is always, “How can we best help those who may be affected?”

We know from experience the MAP Disaster Health Kits will be needed in almost any emergency. Whether it's a refugee camp in Jordan or a Red Cross shelter in San Juan, people who have lost everything want, more than anything, to know there is someone who cares about their plight. And the MAP DHK is a simple expression that provides them with a measure of dignity in the most tragic of situations.

To ensure our response will get there when it is needed most, MAP establishes good communication with trusted partners in advance of a disaster, and while it is occurring on the ground and nearest to the disaster.

Fortunately, MAP has dozens of such partners around the world. If we have some advanced warning, such as we did with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria last fall, we ask what supplies will be needed and what distribution is available.

For example, last fall, as soon as MAP knew people would be displaced in the Houston area following Hurricane Harvey, we sent a supply of DHKs to the scene to be distributed at shelters. The contents of these kits help people who have fled with nothing receive both tangible help and emotional support.

The basic health supplies in DHKs help prevent disease and allow displaced people to care for themselves and their families. They also let them know that someone cares.

We keep a large supply of assembled DHKs on hand at our global distribution center in Brunswick for just such a situation. Volunteers pack these kits either in our warehouse or at packing events at churches, schools or businesses. Because of their help, we’re able to very quickly respond.

As the 2018 hurricane season approaches, we pray all will be protected and kept safe. If any storms grow from the oceans and harm communities, MAP will continue to ask, “How can we best help those who may be affected?”

Learn more about MAP's disaster response efforts worldwide and how you can help here.

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